Elmo - July 15, 2014

The American Treasure Tour blog happily continues to acknowledge the stuffed animals in our collection today.  If you have had the chance to visit the Toy Box, you know that all sorts of animals are on display - some are behind the wheels of our automobiles, some are hanging from the rafters, and some are comfortably lounging wherever there is a free spot.  Although many of them are anonymous, celebrity stuffed animals pop up pretty regularly.  Today, we are going to talk a little bit about Elmo!

The eternally three-year-old, bright red Muppet Elmo was for decades a background player in the world of Sesame Street.  He was in crowd shots, just a nodding head, through the 1970s.  Then, in 1984, puppeteer Kevin Clash began his transformation into one of the most popular members of the cast.  Now, some of the other Muppets complain of being upstaged by Elmo.  Being the star of a number of movies, it is easy to see their sense of competition.

In what year was Kevin Clash compelled to retire as the voice of Elmo?

a)  1999

b)  2003

c)  2009

d)  2012

Answer Below

HISTORY TODAY:

We at the ATT blog have made an effort to acknowledge the anniversaries of when colonies and territories, and the occasional republic, are accepted into the United States as a full-blown state.  Today is an odd anniversary, because we get to celebrate a state that had already been part of the country, denounced it and seceded, then joined again.  We are talking about Georgia.  The fourth of the original thirteen colonies to embrace the Constitution in 1788, Georgia was the fifth to secede eighty-one years later.  It came back again today, in 1870, the last former Confederate State to do so.

Much more modern history happened today as well.  Only eight years ago, the social media titan Twitter was officially launched.  It allows registered users to publish 140-character text messages - better known as tweets - on a forum that allows anyone interested to read them.  Around five hundred million users submit around three hundred forty million individual tweets per day. 

BIRTHDAYS:

Today we celebrate the birth of the accomplished American author Clive Cussler, who has published over fifty books that span numerous topics, from 1973's adventure novel Raise the Titanic! to the nonfiction account of his own involvement in searching for sunken treasures - 1996's The Sea Hunters:  True Adventures With Famous Shipwrecks.  The latter book accounts Cussler's involvement with the National Underwater and Marine Agency, which famously discovered the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley in 1995.

Turning 53 today, the Academy Award-winning actor Forrest Whitaker has made a name for himself playing characters in a diverse collection of films since the early-1980s.  His debut was in the popular 1982 drama/comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and he has since gone on to perform in many well-regarded films.  In many, he interprets the lives of real people - from Charlie "Bird" Parker to Cecil Gaines (in The Butler) and his award-winning turn as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.

QUOTE:  Stereotypes do exist, but we have to walk through them. - Forest Whitaker

Answer:  d)  2012.  Three different plaintiffs accused Clash of inappropriate sexual behavior. Although he was acquitted of all charges, Clash felt it was in the best interest of the Sesame Workshop that he resign.